Taking some of the guess-work out of figuring out why your stomach may currently be turned inside out, the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that salads linked to a cyclospora outbreak that’s sickened at least 400 people have been tied to four restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster.
All of the restaurants are connected by a common supplier, Taylor Farms de Mexico, says the FDA. Previously, authorities hadn’t revealed where the tainted salads originated from.
“As a result of the current investigation FDA is increasing its surveillance efforts on green leafy products exported to the U.S. from Mexico,” the FDA said in a statement (via CBS News).
Darden Restaurants owns both chains, and issued a statement regarding the cyclospora outbreak, telling customers not to worry about getting sick in the future:
“Nothing we have seen prior to this announcement gave us any reason to be concerned about the products we’ve received from this supplier. Iowa and Nebraska health authorities have said this is not an ongoing outbreak and the product is no longer in the food supply in those states. The health and safety of our guests is our top priority, and it is completely safe to eat in our restaurants.”
A statement from Taylor Farms said, “The Mexico facility is state of the art and has an exceptional food safety record including an exceptional facility audit in 2011 by the FDA. The company is also working with the FDA on an environmental facility assessment of Taylor Farms de Mexico and is cooperating with the FDA in their ongoing investigation.”
There’s also a bagged salad mix sold by Taylor Farms, but the FDA says it hasn’t implicated those products yet in the outbreak.
Cyclosporiasis infections have been reported so far in Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, New York City, Georgia, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.